Map of Meridian, Mississippi (side 2). Call number: MA/2003.0150 (b) MDAH Collection

Map of Meridian, Mississippi (side 2). Call number: MA/2003.0150 (b) MDAH Collection

These maps are part of a large group that was recently digitized and made available in the online catalog. Click the title to view the map or click “Link to the catalog” to view its catalog record.

Map of Jackson, Mississippi [1929?]. Call number: MA/2003.0113 (b) Link to the catalog.

Map of Jackson, Mississippi [1948?]. Call number: MA/2003.0126 (b) Link to the catalog.

Jackson ["Spirit of '76"]. Call number: MA/2003.0130 (b) Link to the catalog.

Official map of Jackson, Miss [1940s?]. Call number: MA/2003.0137 (b) Link to the catalog.

Official map of Jackson, Miss [1940s?]. Call number: MA/2003.0139 (b) Link to the catalog.

Map of Meridian, Mississippi. Call number: MA/2003.0150 (b) Link to the catalog.

Ocean Springs, Mississippi [1973]. Call number:MA/2003.0157 (b) Link to the catalog.

Vicksburg, Warren County, Mississippi, 1930. Call number: MA/2003.0192 (b) Link to the catalog.

Vicksburg, Warren County, Mississippi [1930]. Call number: MA/2003.0193 (b) Link to the catalog.

Vicksburg, Warren County, Mississippi [1930]. Call number: MA/2003.0194 (b) Link to the catalog.

City of Vicksburg, Warren County [1962]. Call number: MA/2003.0202(b) Link to the catalog.

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Maps Digitized

On July 12, 2013, in Maps, by Amanda
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"Map of beautiful Biloxi, Mississippi." Call number: MA/2003.0062 (b) MDAH

“Map of beautiful Biloxi, Mississippi.” Call number: MA/2003.0062 (b) MDAH

A large group of maps was recently digitized and linked to the MDAH online catalog. There are more maps to come in additional blog posts. Click the title to view the map or click “Link to the catalog” to view its catalog record.

Map of Adams County, (1890?). Call number: MA/2003.0005 (b) MDAH. Link to the catalog.

Grenada County, c. 1940. Call number: MA/2003.0024 (b) MDAH. Link to the catalog.

George County, c. 1940. Call number: MA/2003.0027 (b) MDAH. Link to the catalog.

Jefferson County, c. 1940. Call number: MA/2003.0051 (b) MDAH. Link to the catalog.

Jones County, c. 1940. Call number: MA/2003.0053 (b) MDAH. Link to the catalog.

Hinds County white schools map, c. 1940. Call number: MA/2003.0056 (b) MDAH. Link to the catalog.

“Map of beautiful Biloxi, Mississippi.” Call number: MA/2003.0062 (b) MDAH. Link to the catalog (pictured above).

City of Clinton, Mississippi. Call number: MA/2003.0075 (b) MDAH. Link to the catalog.

Map of Gulfport, Mississippi. Call number: MA/2003.0090 (b) MDAH. Link to the catalog.

Jackson, Mississippi. Call number: MA/2003.0106 (b) MDAH. Link to the catalog.

Jackson, Miss., 1910. Call number: MA/2003.0110 (b) MDAH. Link to the catalog.

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Medgar Evers: Travels and Connections

On July 9, 2013, in Archives, by Dorian Randall
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The life of Medgar Evers is synonymous with the civil rights struggle and his strong leadership in the movement. This series, written by Dorian Randall, will explore his life, work, and legacy using related collections at MDAH. This is the final post of the series.

Travel was an important part of Medgar Evers’ duties as NAACP field secretary.

 

This matchbook from Philadelphia, PA and money clip from Minnesota were found in the desk drawer in Evers' NAACP office and could habe been picked up on his travels. Accession number: 2004.21.10 and 2004.21.3a. (Medgar Evers collection)

This matchbook from Philadelphia, PA and money clip from Minnesota were found in the desk drawer in Evers’ NAACP office and could have been picked up on his travels. Accession number: 2004.21.10 and 2004.21.3a. (Museum Division Collection)

Evers traveled around the state to increase membership at local branches and across the country to give speeches at meetings and conferences. In June 1956, Evers attended the NAACP’s forty-seventh annual meeting in San Francisco, where Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. delivered an address championing direct action.1 In May1959, Evers spoke at the Los Angeles NAACP branch, and in September of that same year he traveled to Panama City, Florida to address the Florida State Conference of NAACP Branches.2 He made various political connections on these trips, forming a close relationship with U.S. Congressman Charles C. Diggs, Jr.

February 17, 1956 letter to Charles C. Diggs regarding voter registration. Call number: Z/2231.000/S, box 2, folder 4 (Medgar Wiley and Myrlie Beasley Papers)

February 17, 1956 letter to Charles C. Diggs regarding voter registration. Call number: Z/2231.000/S, box 2, folder 4 (Medgar Wiley and Myrlie Beasley Papers)

Diggs was a Michigan congressman and leader in African American voter registration. In 1956, Diggs and Evers wrote a series of letter to one another regarding intimidation and other illegal tactics that prevented voter registration for black Mississippians. Evers even introduced Diggs at a celebration for the third anniversary of the Brown ruling held at the Masonic Temple in Jackson.3

Evers and author James Baldwin.

Evers and author James Baldwin. Call number: Z.2231.4.009 (Medgar Wiley and Myrlie Beasley Papers)

Evers also connected with those in arts and entertainment. He met award-winning author James Baldwin of Harlem when Baldwin traveled to Jackson in 1962 in support of James Meredith, who had just enrolled at the University of Mississippi. “He had the calm of someone who knows they’re going to die before their time—like Martin Luther King,” Baldwin said of Evers.4 Baldwin accompanied Evers on a trip investigating a murder in rural Mississippi and the two men developed a close friendship. By then Baldwin was already an outspoken civil rights activist. His play Blues for Mister Charlie, which he began writing before Evers’ death in 1963, was based on the murder of Emmett Till. Baldwin said that when Evers died he “resolved that nothing under heaven would prevent me from getting this play done.”5 Baldwin dedicated Blues to Evers’ family and memory.


1 Michael V. Williams, Medgar Evers: Mississippi Martyr (Fayetteville: University of Arkansas Press, 2011), 132.
2 Myrlie Evers-Williams and Manning Marable, eds., The Autobiography of Medgar Evers: A Hero’s Life and Legacy revealed Through His Writings, Letters, and Speeches (New York: Basic Civitas Books, 2005), 140, 158.
3 Evers-Williams, The Autobiography of Medgar Evers, 72.
4 W.J. Weatherby, James Baldwin: Artist on Fire (New York: Donald I. Fine, Inc., 1989), 3.
5 Weatherby, James Baldwin, 237.

Medgar Evers: Direct Action

On June 17, 2013, in Archives, by Dorian Randall
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The life of Medgar Evers is synonymous with the civil rights struggle and his strong leadership in the movement. This series, written by Dorian Randall, will explore his life, work, and legacy using related collections at MDAH.

In the 1960s Mississippi segregationists maintained a firm grip on social, political, and economic power. Evers intended to practice his rights as a U.S. citizen after being honorably discharged from the army by tackling the vote, which represented “the most tangible symbol of social and political equality.”1 In 1946 Evers, his brother Charles, and a group of friends decided to cast their ballot in the Democratic primary election where segregationist senator Theodore G. Bilbo sought re-election. Although they were allowed to register without incident, on election day a white mob prevented them from voting. This experience fueled Evers’ work in the NAACP as the organization worked to increase black voter registration. Other demonstrations against inequality followed as Evers grew into a civil rights leader.

Evers participated in, supported, and helped organize “direct action” demonstrations over the course of his NAACP career. From 1959 to 1960, Evers assisted his friend and NAACP member Dr. Gilbert Mason Sr., who attempted to desegregate Biloxi’s beaches in a series of “wade-ins.” After notifying Evers of his intent, Dr. Mason and a group of swimmers made several trips to Biloxi’s public beaches in 1959. An April 1960 visit proved crucial to the desegregation effort as the swimmers were attacked by angered whites. Evers later recounted the incident in a series of reports to the NAACP national office in New York:

 As a follow-up to the report of April 24, 1960, in regard to the Biloxi, Gulfport, Pass Christian, and Gulf Coast demonstrations, I’m happy to report that members of our Gulfport and Pass Christian Branches participated on Sunday, April 24, 1960, in a movement to desegregate the beaches on the Gulf Coast…The quick action of the members of the Gulfport Branch, under the leadership of Dr. Felix H. Dunn, and Dr. Gilbert R. Mason, prompted an immediate inquiry from the Federal Bureau of Investigation…Dr. Mason and other members of the Negro citizenry of Biloxi would like for the N.A.A.C.P. to act in their behalf as a friend to the court, in the suit to open the beaches to all.2

Desegregating beaches wasn’t Evers’ only concern.

He also believed in the power of the youth. The national NAACP leadership did not fully support direct action tactics, but the youth pressed for more demonstrations. Evers had earned the respect of black youth through his support of the Jackson Youth Council and Touglaoo Nine, the black students who integrated the whites-only Jackson Municipal Public Library in March of 1961. He provided the young activists “opportunities to play prominent roles in the overall struggle, and he sought their advice on important issues such as strategies and resistance measures.”3

This WLBT news clip depicts Evers investigating and negotiating the terms of release for black youth protesters held at the Mississippi State Fairgrounds in Jackson circa 1961. Call number: MP/1980.01, reel D18 LCN 872 (MDAH)

In 1963 Evers worked with Tougaloo College professor John Salter, whom he met at an NAACP dinner, to organize youth for a boycott of Capitol Street businesses.4 During the Woolworth’s sit-in on May 28, 1963, Evers contacted the national media and coordinated activities from his NAACP office. On June 1, he was even arrested for picketing in front of the Woolworth’s. Evers had risen as a strong leader and organizer who inspired youth such as Tom Beard to actively pursue their rights as natural born citizens.

Tom Beard was just eighteen years old when he participated in the Woolworth’s sit-in. He was inspired by Evers’ determination and looked to him as a father figure. For Beard, Evers was a man of action who was willing to say what he himself could not. Beard once stated that he “just appreciated him having the guts to start something at the time.”5

 


1 Michael Williams, Medgar Evers: Mississippi Martyr (Fayetteville: University of Arkansas Press, 2011), 38.

2 Myrlie Evers-Williams and Manning Marable, eds., The Autobiography of Medgar Evers: A Hero’s Life and Legacy Revealed Through His Writings, Letters, and Speeches (New York: Basic Civitas Books, 2005), 188-90.

3 Williams, Medgar Evers, 203.

4 M.J. O’Brien, We Shall Not Be Moved: The Jackson Woolworth’s Sit-In and the Movement It Inspired (Jackson: University Press of Mississippi, 2013), 27.

5 O’Brien, We Shall Not Be Moved, 68.

Medgar Evers: The NAACP and School Desegregation

On May 29, 2013, in Archives, by Dorian Randall
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The life of Medgar Evers is synonymous with the civil rights struggle and his strong leadership in the movement. This series, written by Dorian Randall, will explore his life, work, and legacy using related collections at MDAH.


Description: This WLBT newsfilm clip depicts Evers seated at a desk possibly discussing a school integration attempt in Jackson Public Schools, circa 1962.

In the 1960s, segregation was deeply imbedded in the consciousness of the average Mississippian. Although Plessy v. Ferguson sanctioned the separate-but-equal doctrine, inequality between blacks and whites still remained, even in education. Medgar Evers knew that first hand from his hometown:

Decatur maintained a high school for whites but none for African Americans. White students traveled to school aboard well-equipped school buses while African American students walked to schools that were often ill equipped and in disrepair.1

That experience impacted his quest for equality in education. Evers’ cherished goal was to become a lawyer, and with NAACP support he applied to the University of Mississippi School of Law in 1954.2 Although he was denied admission, Evers resolved to fight the deplorable conditions of black schools and work for school desegregation.

In 1953 Evers and two fellow NAACP members met with Walter Sillers, Speaker of the Mississippi House of Representatives, about improvements for black schools. During the meeting Sillers, a Dixiecrat and segregationist, kept his back to them and made promises of new buildings, but only a few simple block buildings were built.3 A sign of hope came a year later, but disappointment soon followed.

In 1954 Brown v. Board of Education outlawed school segregation, but the responsibility of expedient integration was left to the discretion of the federal district judges because of their proximity to the local issues.4 The segregationist establishment maintained the status quo. In June 1954 Mississippi governor Hugh White met with a group of black and white leaders to implement his “equalization within segregation program,” which endorsed voluntary segregation. However Brown supporters and black leaders such as T.R.M. Howard still called for integration. Evers rejected the program and continued to canvass black neighborhoods to obtain signatures for school desegregation petitions.5 He even added his own children’s names to a desegregation petition to the Jackson Separate School Board of Trustees in 1962.6 The threat of retaliation was high; white segregationists used brute force against blacks to deter support of integration. But Medgar Evers kept fighting.

A letterregrading school integration petitions in five Mississippi cities dated July 11, 1954.

A letter to regrading school integration petitions in five Mississippi cities dated July 11, 1954. Accession number: Z.2231.000.002, box 2, folder 7 (Medgar Wiley and Myrlie Beasely Papers)

In 1959 Evers assisted his friend Clyde Kennard, an NAACP member, who was denied admission to Mississippi Southern College (now the University of Southern Mississippi). Kennard had made several previous attempts to enroll at the university, and was arrested on false charges of reckless driving and possession of liquor after his last attempt. Kennard sought help from the NAACP, and the charges were dropped. In 1960 Kennard was arrested again and sentenced to seven years in prison for conspiring to steal several bags of chicken feed. 7 Upon hearing the verdict, an outraged Evers was held in contempt for publicly denouncing the court’s decision. Both of Kennard’s arrests were later revealed as a determined plot on the part of the college administration to prevent his enrollment. In 1962 Kennard was diagnosed with cancer, and his health rapidly deteriorated. Evers, distressed by his friend’s condition and treatment by the authorities, barely contained his grief when giving an update about Kennard at an NAACP banquet.8 Kennard died in 1963, just one year after James Meredith’s admission to the University of Mississippi, the university that Evers had once tried to integrate.

A letter from NAACP general counsel Robert Carter concerning Clyde Kennard dated October 9, 1959. Accession number: Z.2331.000.001

A letter from NAACP general counsel Robert Carter concerning Clyde Kennard dated October 9, 1959. Accession number: Z.2331.000.001, box 2, folder 10 (Medgar Wiley and Myrlie Beasley Papers)


1 Michael V. Williams, Medgar Evers: Mississippi Martyr (Fayetteville: The University of Arkansas Press, 2011), 19.
2 John Dittmer, Local People: The Struggle for Civil Rights in Mississippi (Champaign: University of Illinois Press, 1995), 49.
3 Adam Nossiter, Of Long Memory: Mississippi and the Murder of Medgar Evers (Cambridge: De Capo Press, 2002), 41.
4 Dittmer, Local People: The Struggle for Civil Rights in Mississippi, 50.
5 Charles C. Bolton, The Hardest Deal of All: The Battle Over School Integration in Mississippi, 1870-1980 (Jackson, University Press of Mississippi, 2005), 79.
6 Williams, Medgar Evers: Mississippi Martyr, 229.
7 Dittmer, Local People: The Struggle for Civil Rights in Mississippi, 80.
8 Myrlie Evers and William Peters For Us the Living (Jackson: University Press of Mississippi, 1996), 224.